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Bucharest
October 23, 2021
JUSTICE POLITICS

Constitutional Court takes up Opposition constitutionality objection over statutes of elected officials

The Constitutional Court of Romania (CCR) on Tuesday took up a constitutionality objection filed by the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and People’s Movement Party (PMP) over amendments to Law 393/2004 on the statutes of local elected officials.

According to the amended law adopted by the Senate, the mandates of mayors, county council members and county council chairmen do not end in case the party on whose lists they were elected merges with another political party.

The law has been challenged at the CCR by 80 PMP, PNL and non-affiliated MPs.

PMP leader Eugen Tomac has stated that the legislative act is undemocratic and anti-constitutional.

“Adopting a law that would secure the mandate of mayors, county council members and county council chairmen even if the party on whose lists they were elected merges with another political party is abusive, inspired by totalitarian ideology, and has only one target: the PMP,” PMP President Eugen Tomac was stating.

He was saying that the PSD has modified this law for a single purpose: targeting the PMP, for the PSD to get back the UNPR councillors that became PMP members after the merger.

“I’m convinced that the story of the merger between PMP and UNPR also ends through this challenge at the CCR. The UNPR has exhausted all their means of attack, even though two years ago we had a merger conference unanimously adopted. Many of the former UNPR leaders, seeing that they did not attain their objective of entering Parliament through the PMP, denounced the merger, something that created difficulties in the process of absorbing the UNPR, and subsequently they negotiated with the PSD that the current majority should pass a law tailor-made against the PMP. (…) I’m convinced that the CCR will not compromise itself and will judge fairly our challenge, because the will of two political parties cannot be modified through a law passed in order to recruit some local elected officials. For PSD it’s sufficient that they took back the former UNPR MPs [that were] on PMP’s lists, the other colleagues must remain where they are, to continue their activity within the PMP. (…) The law on parliamentary parties is being infringed, as well as the democratic principle of association between parties. As long as there was a will unanimously expressed by two political entities, the state can’t come and say that what we decided is not alright,” Eugen Tomac said.

On June 20, the Senate – as the decisive body – adopted a legislative initiative stating that the mandates of mayors, county council members and county council chairmen do not cease in case the parties on whose lists they were elected merge with other political parties.

The bill amends Law no.393/2004 on the statute of local elected officials, in the sense that one’s capacity as local councillor or county councillor does not cease before the normal expiration of the mandate if the holder of the said capacity loses his/her capacity as member of the political party or national minority’s organisation on whose list of candidates he/she was elected, with the exception of political parties that merged, in which case the councillor becomes independent. In the current form of the law, Article 9 reads: “One’s capacity as local councillor or county councillor legally ceases, before the expiration of the normal length of the mandate, in the following cases: 1) losing capacity as member of the political party or national minorities’ organisation on whose list he/she was elected.”

Likewise, another amendment that PSD has brought to Article 15 reads: “one’s capacity as mayor and county council chairman legally ceases, before the expiration of the normal length of the mandate, in the following cases: the loss, via resignation, of the capacity as member of the political party or national minorities’ organisation on whose list of candidates he/she was elected, with the exception of political parties that merged, in which case the mayor becomes independent.”

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